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MISSING! - Understanding and Making the Most of Missing Data

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Suzanne M. Humphreys

PRA International

Victoria, BC


Missing values can have a surprising impact on the way that data is dealt with. They can be represented and referenced by SAS® in a number of ways, there are various functions linked to missing values and procedures will have specific ways of handling them too. It can be a bit of a minefield but hopefully this paper will show some useful ways of dealing with missing data and how by using certain techniques you can turn this to your advantage. Topics will include the MISSING function, the NMISS function, special missing characters, different ways to identify missing data and MERGE vs UPDATE. The focus will be missing data in SAS data sets, rather than reading in raw data including missing values. Intended audience – beginner to intermediate, not limited to any particular operating system, based on SAS 8.2.

KEYWORDS: MISSING, NMISS, MERGE, UPDATE, MODIFY, survey data, questionnaire data, special missing characters

Online resources

View the .pdf of this paper.